“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters….” Psalm 23:2
When I was in college there was nothing I loved to do more than sleep.
I loved to sleep. I loved to sleep during the day. I loved to sleep during the night. Any chance I got, it seemed, I slept. I don’t know why this is, but it didn’t do me a whole lot of good when it came to my grades. My first year of theological studies I had Greek class. (It’s important to know Greek if you’re going to study the Scriptures in-depth.) This class taught us how to read Greek and was held at 7:30 in the morning Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For someone who likes to sleep, a 7:30 a.m. class just isn’t possible. I dropped this class after about 8 weeks. Not that I attended all 8 weeks. I missed a lot more classes than I attended. The next year, Greek class was held at 8:30. A little better but not much for someone who likes to sleep.
A perfect day for me was to sleep until about 9:30 or 10 in the morning and then get a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. Obviously, this doesn’t work well in the real world.
So when I see that my Shepherd will “make me lie down” I see this as heaven! What a great place for someone who likes to sleep.
But even if sleeping isn’t your idea of a good time, this verse is for you. Whatever it is that relaxes you, or provides you with comfort and rest, that is what your Good Shepherd will provide.
A couple of years ago I spent a few weeks in Yellowstone National Park. I saw all the amazing things that are there, the geysers and hot springs, the mountains and animals. But one day while hiking in the mountains, I came across a stream. It was this kind of stream that the Psalmist must have had in mind when he wrote down “he leads me beside quiet waters.” It was gently flowing. Submerged stones made ripples in the stream. And it had a quiet gurgling that soothed my weary feet and my tired soul. I spent my afternoon there and I returned several times after that during my stay in Yellowstone.
When God leads us beside quiet waters, he is leading us to “waters of resting places.” This will include times of worship. It will include times of devotion. It will include times of prayer. Let’s face it; the world is a very busy place. It’s full of noise and fury. But in the end, it signifies nothing. God leads us away from the rat race that no one wins to the quiet waters of His Word and Sacraments where He gives us that which He won for us – eternal life.